Recently, a fake WhatsApp app was discovered on Google Play Store. This app was designed to bombard innocent users with a ton of advertisements while not doing anything even remotely similar to the original app.
This is the case with several apps, most of which try to copy the name and appearance of a popular app to lure people into installing them.
Here in this post, we will talk about several different ways, in which you can identify a fake app for Android. But, before we begin we need to understand as to why such fake apps even exist on the Play Store.
However, in reality, that app was just another fake app that displayed a ton of advertisements to the users without offering any messaging or support for any feature that the original app did.
Developers, who make these apps, do not care about you or your devices. You have to understand that by making such apps they just want to make some easy money. However, such apps can harm your device and can even completely stop them from working.
But, identifying a fake app is not that difficult and here's how you can spot one.
Most of the times, fake apps tend to copy the name of a popular app. This helps the developers in gaining instant visibility for their app and, in turn, get better profits.
However, in order to do so, these developers try to keep the name of the app along with its identity as close as possible to the original app.
So, if you see two or more apps by the same app name and developer name, be very careful. Consider it as the first red flag and do a fair bit of research as listed below to find out which app is fake and which one is not.
You will find several apps with the same name, however, the store does not allow multiple developers to have the same name. So, in order to bypass this and to publish the fake app on the Play Store, these developers try to copy the names of the developers as well.
Therefore, pay special attention to developer names and watch out for any additional characters or spaces in between words.
Read a Few Comments
One of the benefits of having a public feedback system (like the one on the Play Store) is that the users can immediately review any app. This way, if someone encounters a fake app, they can notify other users in order to save them the trouble.
So, if you have any doubt about an app that you are about to install, read a few comments and you'll get a clear picture if this app is worth your time and effort or not.
The image above is a classic example of a fake app review section. This app promises to do something extraordinary in its name and by the description.
However, when people actually started using it, the app turned out to be worthless. Reading these reviews, you'll stay protected not only from fake apps but from the useless ones as well.
By now, you must be thinking that what the point is to have the Play Protect feature on your phone when it cannot even prevent fake apps from being installed on your phone.
Well, the truth is that all these applications, including Play Protect, make use of machine learning algorithms to identify and flag applications that have malicious content or behavior.
Most of the times, developers, who master the art of making fake apps, use codes buried deep in the app to trigger actions on a user's phone while, on the outside, they provide the most basic functionality to the users.
This way, such apps pass under Play Protect's radar without any detection and, once it's available on the Play Store, the developers activate the hidden part.
Play Protect does a decent job of protecting Android devices from such malicious apps that are a serious security threat. Play Protect hardly causes any kind of hindrance or disturbance to the user.
As these investigative algorithms become stronger, they might soon be able to identify fake apps much quicker. Till then, you can follow the steps above to keep your phone out of harm's way.